ABOUT CLARK STREET BRIDGE

Clark Street Bridge should be mandatory viewing for humanity.”

LOIS SORKIN, GRAMMARIAN

THE IDEA

An advertising agency is the factory on the edge of town busy making ideas by the boxful. We thought it would be a good idea to build a bridge to the rest of town.

We call it Clark Street Bridge.

Clark Street Bridge is both homage to Carl Sandburg’s poem of the same name and a metaphor, descriptive of the two-way traffic between advertising and the city of Chicago.

Our goal is to enrich the creative abilities of business leaders and connect with a younger audience, instilling in them a love of literature and music.

THE EXPERIENCE

Clark Street Bridge delivers inspiration in a way that almost everyone finds inspiring.

There are no lectures. There is no professor. There is nothing that would remind you of a classroom.

There is a performance. There is a band. There are dramatic visuals.

Instead of a lecture, there is spoken-word storytelling.

Those who attend, write part of the presentation.

Clark Street Bridge carries inspiration from the agency to the city and it comes back, over the bridge, in unexpected ways—reputation, some recruits, but most of all, respect.


It reminded me that we’re all storytellers at heart.”
John Rossmiller, Group Management Director

 

It reminded me that we’re all storytellers at heart.”
John Rossmiller, Group Management Director


 
A BRIEF HISTORY

We worked out of a space in the Newberry Library, and every other week made a presentation to about 30 Draftfcb employees from all disciplines. We learned from each session, and evolved. The band changed—from pop to a kind of hip string quartet. The script changed—from almost four hours to ninety minutes.

But the single most important change was in the nature of what we asked the participants to write. We went from somewhat random prompts loosely related to the content, to prompts that were single-minded in their intent—self-revelation.

And the results, particularly of those who were not writers by trade, were often remarkable.

Founder

JOHN CLAXTON

After graduating from Butler University, John taught humanities at Ladywood-St. Agnes High School in Indianapolis. And while spending much of the rest of his life writing for advertising, he has never lost his love for teaching or his passion for learning.

His distinguished career in advertising is highlighted by award-winning branding campaigns created for American Airlines, Diners Club, Dow Chemical and Illinois Tourism. The “Human Element” campaign he authored for Dow is recognized as having set a higher standard for corporate advertising.

Using his extraordinary wealth of experience, John brings renewed respect to inspiration, creativity and the written word. His creation, Clark Street Bridge, illustrates his and FCB’s commitment to nurturing creativity—and underscores the need to inspire everyone to a better understanding of words and ideas.

Founder

JOHN CLAXTON

After graduating from Butler University, John taught humanities at Ladywood-St. Agnes High School in Indianapolis. And while spending much of the rest of his life writing for advertising, he has never lost his love for teaching or his passion for learning.

His distinguished career in advertising is highlighted by award-winning branding campaigns created for American Airlines, Diners Club, Dow Chemical and Illinois Tourism. The “Human Element” campaign he authored for Dow is recognized as having set a higher standard for corporate advertising.

Using his extraordinary wealth of experience, John brings renewed respect to inspiration, creativity and the written word. His creation, Clark Street Bridge, illustrates his and FCB’s commitment to nurturing creativity—and underscores the need to inspire everyone to a better understanding of words and ideas.

 

Contributor

Michael Patrick Thornton

Artistic director and co-founder of The Gift Theatre, Michael is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf, The Second City Conservatory, and The Second City Directing Program. Michael has trained at the iO Improv Program and under Mick Napier at Annoyance Theatre and occasionally teaches at Second City, The School at Steppenwolf, and Columbia College. He was most recently seen onstage in the Kennedy Center workshop of fellow Gift ensemble member Andrew Hinderaker’s Colossal and onstage at The Gift in the world premiere of Hinderaker’s Dirty.

Conceived while students at The University of Iowa in 1997 by Michael Patrick Thornton and William Nedved, the idea for The Gift was to grow and nurture an ensemble and lay roots in an artistically underserved Chicago neighborhood.

Contributor

Michael Patrick Thornton

Artistic director and co-founder of The Gift Theatre, Michael is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf, The Second City Conservatory, and The Second City Directing Program. Michael has trained at the iO Improv Program and under Mick Napier at Annoyance Theatre and occasionally teaches at Second City, The School at Steppenwolf, and Columbia College. He was most recently seen onstage in the Kennedy Center workshop of fellow Gift ensemble member Andrew Hinderaker’s Colossal and onstage at The Gift in the world premiere of Hinderaker’s Dirty.

Conceived while students at The University of Iowa in 1997 by Michael Patrick Thornton and William Nedved, the idea for The Gift was to grow and nurture an ensemble and lay roots in an artistically underserved Chicago neighborhood.

 

It was as if I was connecting the dots in my own life.”
YOLANDA BROWN


 

It was as if I was connecting the dots in my own life.”
YOLANDA BROWN


Contributor

SARAH MASTERSON

Sara Masterson is a nationally touring singer/songwriter and recording artist from Chicago, IL. The Illinois Entertainer describes her voice as “achingly gorgeous” and calls her a “mesmerizing and accomplished” young artist. An acclaimed vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and performer, Sara has steadily gained recognition not only as a talented singer, but as a poetic lyricist and songwriter. Sara crafts catchy pop melodies with startlingly intimate lyrics full of depth and yearning.

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Contributor

SARAH MASTERSON

Sara Masterson is a nationally touring singer/songwriter and recording artist from Chicago, IL. The Illinois Entertainer describes her voice as “achingly gorgeous” and calls her a “mesmerizing and accomplished” young artist. An acclaimed vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and performer, Sara has steadily gained recognition not only as a talented singer, but as a poetic lyricist and songwriter. Sara crafts catchy pop melodies with startlingly intimate lyrics full of depth and yearning.

Contributor

Jeff Boyle

The hand-picked musicians of Clark Street Bridge are as diverse as the music they perform. One constant though, is Jeff Boyle. A self-taught, multi-instrumentalist who started his career as a club drummer in the 1980s, Jeff has written music for over 1800 television, radio and web commercials. Clients include McDonalds, Disney, Boeing, TV Land, Diet Coke, Coors Light, Bud Light, Kraft, Toyota, Discover and Dow. He has released 5 albums and has appeared as a guest performer on many others. Jeff and his hardworking, award-winning group of composers at Catfish Music write music for all types of media.

Contributor

Jeff Boyle

The hand-picked musicians of Clark Street Bridge are as diverse as the music they perform. One constant though, is Jeff Boyle. A self-taught, multi-instrumentalist who started his career as a club drummer in the 1980s, Jeff has written music for over 1800 television, radio and web commercials. Clients include McDonalds, Disney, Boeing, TV Land, Diet Coke, Coors Light, Bud Light, Kraft, Toyota, Discover and Dow. He has released 5 albums and has appeared as a guest performer on many others. Jeff and his hardworking, award-winning group of composers at Catfish Music write music for all types of media.

FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding) is filled with a diverse and passionate group of thinkers, creators, technologists and storytellers devoted to creating buzzworthy ideas that change consumer behavior. The global, fully integrated marketing communications agency celebrates local culture, flavor and expertise market-by-market. With over 140 years of communications expertise, FCB’s worldwide network spans 150 offices in 90 countries, with more than 8,000 people, and is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE:IPG).